This article was adapted from a similar article on the website for Anthrocon, one of the largest furry conventions in the world. I take no credit for writing it, I merely added to it. This site isn't specifically furry, but it draws a significant influence from anthropomorphic art and literature, so I felt it important to post this section here.
More information about the furry fandom can also be found on Wikifur, the largest furry Wiki.
The term "Furry" has many meanings, not all of which are widely known. As used on this site, it refers to artistic works which make use of anthropomorphized (or human-like) animals, an artistic element which has been used in every world culture since the beginning of culture itself. Native Americans revered and told stories of animal spirits, ancient Egyptians worshipped animal gods, and medieval Europeans told tales of talking dragons. In more modern times, anthropomorphized animals are featured in cartoons (for children and adults), advertising, literature, and many other facets of society.
In the last 20 years or so, fans of these characters have begun to come together and share their appreciation of their favourite art genre. Originally a subset of the science-fiction fandom, the furry fandom has grown to massive numbers. Its participants come from all walks of life, all world cultures, and all ages and identities.
A large number of anthropomorphics fans are employed in scientific or technical fields. A significant percentage have college diplomas and many of those hold advanced degrees. This, perhaps, is what leads many casual observers to raise an eyebrow. “Why would someone like this be into cartoon animals? Isn’t that unusual?” If we look at the world around us, however, we will see that anthropomorphized animals are an integral part of our culture. We use them to represent our political parties. We talk to our dogs (and some even imagine they talk back, though in their own way). We put a tiger in our tank. We cheer for mascots—anthropomorphic animals dressed in team uniforms—at our favorite sporting events. Our casual observer may simply be unaware that it is only in the last forty years that cartoons and cartoon animals have been relegated to the world of children. Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and their ilk were once targeted primarily to an adult audience, their productions filled with innuendo and biting political satire. Fans of anthropomorphics today simply have not forgotten those roots. The average Furry fan is cast from the same mold as the science fiction or sword-and-sorcery fan; all of us imagine strange and thrilling worlds and try to picture ourselves living in those worlds.
Today, the furry fandom is instead an artistic and literary genre that is practiced and enjoyed by tens of thousands worldwide. We count among our ranks professional sports mascots, animators, cartoonists, puppeteers, artists, illustrators, and writers, as well as those who simply think that it would be a wonderful thing if animals could walk or talk like we do. If you as an adult still occasionally like to flip to the old cartoons, or have a stuffed animal sitting on the dashboard of your car, or buy cereal because it has a cool tiger on the box, you may well enjoy participating in our fandom and activities.